Friday, March 11, 2011

1992 Mazda Miata "Black Edition"

It's amazing how Mazda saw a niche that every other car maker didn't see or refused to see. In 1980 you could still get rear wheel drive roadsters in America from MG, Triumph, Fiat and Alfa Romeo. By 1983, they were all gone, except for Alfa, who hung around for another 10 years. The buzz was that America no longer wanted open-top roadsters. We were into Z cars and the like.

The buzz was wrong. The Miata was introduced in 1989 and it was an instant success. Mazda couldn't build enough to meet the demand. Back in 1989 if you wanted to be the first one on your block to own a Miata, you were going to pay a premium. Dealers were asking, and getting, $1500.00 to $5000.00 (!!) over sticker.

It was such a simple idea. Mazda took everything that was good about British and Italian roadsters - style, rear wheel drive handling, inexpensive price - and put it in a modern, reliable, car.

Besides it's reliability, the best thing about a Miata is its looks. There is absolutely nothing original about its design. It looks British, specifically it looks like a Lotus. Had Lotus continued building and evolving the original Elan, it would have wound up looking like a Miata.

Another idea Mazda borrowed form the Brits was the "Special Edition" car. There were all sorts of Special Edition Miatas. This is one of my favorites.

This is a 1992 "Black Miata". All Black Miatas were painted black (no real surprise there), had a tan top and tan leather interior. They also came standard with power windows, power steering, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, alloy wheels and an AM-FM/cassette stereo. For an extra $1400.00 you could get a package (known as "Option C") that included a Nardi wood shift knob and hand brake handle, stainless sill plates, BBS 14" wheels, cruise control, headrest speakers, and an automatic antenna. Separately you could order a hardtop, automatic transmission (why?), ABS, air conditioning, a CD player and a limited slip differential. While the Black Miata was a special edition, it was not a limited edition and Mazda built over 4600 of these. The Black Miata listed for around $3000.00 more than the base Miata and that price didn't include the Option C package or any of the the other options.

It could be argued that loading up a Miata with extras defeated its purpose of being a basic sports car. True, but if you planned on driving your Miata everyday, it made it much more comfortable and convenient. In my eyes it made it nicer looking, too.

First generation Miatas are bargains today. Decent, drivable cars can be found for as little as $2500.00. Really nice ones can be had for under $5000.00. This one has an asking price of more than $5K, but it may be worth it. Besides being a Black Miata, it has just 38,000 miles on it. It has the Option C package, along with air condioning and a limited slip differential. It looks flawless.

Located in Kew Gardens, NY, click here to see the eBay listing.


Anonymous said...

NA Miata has to be the last bargain sport car out there..the simple visceral feeling only a real sport bred lightweight car car can many autos that were dirt cheap now cost good $$$ even when basket cases ie classic Mini's Porsche 912's forget 911's E30 M3's Alfa GTV's the list goes on & on ...bought a 93 Miata LE w/30,000 & hardtop for what certain classic project cars would cost (under 5gs) I was looking for my my 1st real classic sports car Mini's Lotus Europa E30 M3 ect couldn't touch 1 that wasn't a mess for that $$.....their is a (economical) substitute .. ...stock or with mods they are miles of smiles..

Johan smith said...

I like just a car geek blog.i like its article.i like Mazda cars

Anonymous said...

I don't even normally like the Miata but I have to admit I like that one. As the first poster stated, it's probably the last bargain out there. Given the high production numbers, I can't see them really appreciating but I imagine you'd have a lot of fun for a long time with one.